it’s been five months I think since I’ve done one of these… sheesh.

Currently I am…

listening to Audrey Assad’s older cd Fortunate Fall and excited that her latest is coming out this Friday.  Her music is so peaceful and tenderizing- it kinda mesmerizes me into time with Jesus.

loving having an amazing trainer come to my house 2x a week…she not only pushes me hardcore but then it makes me want to work out four other days in the week.  I have not done that in years.

feeling sad that we aren’t watching the Super Bowl.  I love the Super Bowl, even when I don’t watch any other football game in the year- which is most years.  It’s just so fun and the food is awesome and the commercials ohhhh I love.  But, alas, we don’t have cable and its not worth it to take our 3 little crazies anywhere if I actually wanted to watch the game.  Just a few more years…

thanking God for our wonderful life group.  Seriously if you ever need curriculum Bill Johnson’s Strengthening Yourself in the Lord is AMAZING.  There is a book too…but his teachings have been stellar each week.

excited for our pool opening in four months.  Ha.  I know you’re thinking, um…it’s winter for awhile longer.  And yes, it is.  But gosh, this summer is gonna be awesome because Maya is finally able to wear the floaties that make pool time so relaxing (for me!).  No running after her or freaking out or staying inside because it’s just easier.  We’re gonna be in that pool daily I think.

searching for moments to use my new killer workout tool… the Pilates Ring aka: ring of death.  It’s soo easy and soo effective.

reading nothing in particular right now.  I’ve been in a sad phase of not wanting to pick up any books, so lame.  Though I’ve been going through Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love for the past several months and it’s phenomenal.  It definitely gives me lots to think about, and I can only read one or two pages in a sitting- but its an easy read.

itching to buy some new workout clothing.  It’s my 20 lb. loss reward, so hoping thats in a couple weeks.  I’ve been wearing 2 pair of capris over and over and over.  I kinda want to go 80’s and buy these babies.

enjoying my couple mornings a week with just Maya.  Her language is exploding and her attention span is getting longer too, so it’s fun to read with her and play games and mostly just watch her do her thing.  She’s the cutest.

Over and out.  Tell me how the super bowl is peeps.

what is my prize

One of my goals for this year was to choose one book of the Bible to focus on in depth for the year.  Of course, I will read other parts but each year God highlights one book in particular and it helps me truly get to know that book well.

I Corinthians is my book for 2016.  I admit to being slightly bummed when He told me, but after reading through it so far I’m grateful.  God is always faithful to make His words jump off the pages and pierce my heart in new ways.

I Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”

As I read this passage, Holy Spirit challenged me with a question- What is your prize?  Ultimately, we are all running for the same prize, but I felt like He personalized it for me in such a way that I felt compelled to answer.  A lot of my time with Him lately has been focused on my major goal to lose 100 pounds this year, and I love how it’s all interwoven.  In the margin of my Bible near this verse, I wrote long ago- “If you wanna get big, pick up something heavy.”  Quite literally, as you know, when a weightlifter wants to grow their muscle, they choose heavier weights.  I want to be a mighty warrior in God.  I don’t want to be pushed down at the slightest defeat and swayed by the littlest of lies.  And so I realized that this year, God put a massive weight in front of me- a very long race (though one year is a blip in the whole scheme of things).  Losing 100 pounds will not be easy or simple or quick, but it’s going to be worth it, mostly because it’s not just about the losing.

It’s about the prize.  It’s about what happens to that muscle when I continually say yes to Jesus and no to the enemy and my flesh.  I prayed about what my prize is, in this season of my life, in this race I’m running today.  First, winning more revelation of His love and who He is would be the greatest outcome of this journey.  I long to know God more and love Him well.  Second, conquering my health and overcoming the enemies constant lying in the midst of this specific battle.  Third, I look forward to the prize of greater BELIEF and understanding of His power in me- that if we can do this race, what else is He going to do in and through me?  And Lord willing, I will have SO MUCH MORE faith to go further with Jesus than ever before.  This one ties into the last prize- being more confident to walk in the things He calls me to, with joy and fearlessness.

This excites me for so many reasons, but mostly because I see freedom as my finish line.  And that alone would be enough for me to diligently run.  Yet the Lord in His kindness loves to reward us.  He has laid out all these special prizes just for me and my challenge to you is to ask Him what race you’re running right now and what prizes He has already chosen for you.

Because let’s face it.  I’ve always been a rewards kinda gal and thankfully I know God is a rewards kinda guy.  Don’t believe me?  Go ask Him.

possible oddities

I thought it would be random and possibly entertaining to list a few things that I do that may or may not be odd or not normal…I love having these kinds of posts to look back on in ten years and chuckle at.

I brush my teeth in the shower, and I floss there too.

I put off reading the end of an amazing book so it doesn’t have to be done so quick, same with netflix series.

I don’t let my kids touch or play with my phone at all.

I only like water with ice or chilled in the fridge.

I deck my house out with decor like crazy for fall and Christmas, but nothing else…no valentines, no St Patricks, no Easter…nothing.

I don’t like sweetener in my coffee.

I read about 30 blogs on a weekly basis.

I would rather be freezing cold than burning hot.

I hate socks.  The only time I EVER wear them is when I’m working out.  As in, I just shoveled snow last weekend in my snow boots without socks.

I still feed our 2 year-old baby food from those pouches.

I don’t have an iPad.  We don’t have a family iPad.  Bart has a work issued one, but the rest of us minions don’t get to use it.

I drank diet coke for years but now I can’t stand the taste.

I fill online shopping carts all the time, but then over time I delete almost everything.

I wear a Target tank under pretty much everything, always.  And I sleep in them too.

I hate going out on Valentines day.

When I eat sour patch kids, I first soak them in ice water or 7up to dissolve the sour part.

I love watching those little quick cooking videos but they never translate into actually making those entrees.

I love using the weird emojis that don’t make any sense.




come to your senses

31WVidsvwKLGosh. I just took a sip of my second cup of coffee- and it’s a kcup flavor someone gifted me, one I wouldn’t normally buy but this morning I tried it.  It brought me straight back to living in Panama, in one moment.

Isn’t it crazy how tastes and smells can immediately transport us back in time?  It’s been 14 years but it feels like yesterday that I would get those Starbucks bottled coffees at the one grocery store that sold some American products.  I would buy a four pack if they were in stock, and drink one a week…specifically choosing the hardest morning to wake up as the one in which I would get my reward.  It made my whole day bright and full of smiles…so funny how something so simple made such a difference.

When I moved back to the States I never bought another Starbucks bottled coffee- something felt wrong about ruining that memory and when a product is so readily available it doesn’t seem as special.

Scents are so powerful too.  There was a deodorant that my entire 7th grade basketball team shared (I know gross!) and every once in a while I’ll come across the smell and giggle.  Those were fun times for sure.  My childhood home has its own scent and each time I visit, I just can’t get enough…it’s amazing that all these years later, it still emits the same lovely smell.

I ran out of conditioner the other morning and decided to use Maya’s since it was in my shower.  The entire day I smelled like her and it was trippy.  I hope I remember to keep a bottle for 20 years from now when she won’t let me sniff her hair but I want to recall the days of 2 year old My.

I think it’s a gift from God- our senses.  He creates so uniquely- I’m always amazed.

3 things.

I stole this from Facebook and tweaked it a little…but you know, my one post a week quota needs to get met somehow.

Three names I go by
1. Krista
2. KJ
3. mommy
Three places I lived
1. Port Angeles, WA
2. Panama City, Panama
3. Kansas City, Missouri
Three places I have worked
1.Cannon Beach Conference Center, Oregon.
2. Cornerstone Christian School, California.
3. Tower Hill Presbyterian Church, Red Bank, NJ.
Three things I love to watch
1. my kids and husband dance
2. The ocean
3. Jimmy Fallon
Three places I have been
1. Australia
2. Costa Rica
3. Alaska

Three places I want to go                                                                                                                                                  1. Fiji                                                                                                                                                                     2. London                                                                                                                                                       3.Italy
Three things I love to eat
1. fresh crusty bread
2. donuts
3. Anything chocolate
Three things I am looking forward to
1. my first weight loss reward- 10 lbs down- a massage
2. my sister might come visit sooner than i ever imagined!
3. a big stuck-in-my-house snowstorm

our basement reno: the end

Yes- you did see the finished product in terms of construction in the last post, but now you get to see us all moved in and decorated.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy these BEFORE/AFTER photos.  I always love seeing things side by side so I tried to do the best I could.

This first photo is from the day we moved into our home…just wanted to show you where our basement entrance is (right past the stairwell).



We had the plain door replaced with a french door, which matches our playroom ones and gives the basement more of a homey feel.  So, without further ado…you open the door and…





This is the BEFORE/AFTER of when you turn the corner on the landing of the stairs to go down.  What was cement flooring and poles turned into carpeting and a wall.


main room2


Basically that black pole (and three others) were built into the new wall, essentially hiding them.  This room is the first one you see when you walk down into the basement- we use it as a family room.  Here is a look at the other side of this same room.




So, there was an alcove already in place, so instead of just have a weird shaped space in this main room, we added a built-in.  Next is the guest room…but first, a look at the family room from another angle…


guest room better


In order to give you a somewhat understandable vision for this BEFORE/AFTER the first photo is just showing the open space.  Second photo shows how it was enclosed (behind there is the guest room) and the third photo shows the finished family room from the other angle.

Then, if you open that door on the right, you’ll see this (the guest room):



Next is the full bath- which actually opens from the guest room on one side and the hallway on the other.  We wanted to give access to the bathroom on both sides so if multiple guests were staying with us it would be easy, plus it just made sense for our every day usage.  The first picture is from the guest room door.  Then, I moved to 2 BEFORE photos from the other end of the bathroom and added the AFTERS from that same angle.


better before.jpgbathroom



Ok.  So you’re probably lost in terms of where we are in the basement, but if it helps, the entire thing moves in a circle.  I already showed you what outside of one bathroom door, so I’ll take you out the other door.


But if you go to the end of this hallway and look back you would have seen this BEFORE…


And the AFTER, now it’s all covered up…


The right door is the bathroom and the left door is our storage and utilities.  Just for fun, here’s our storage area- which is L shaped and all the utilities are to the right.


Okay, now moving on.  Behind the hallway on one side is the stairwell but the other side is Bart’s office.  Here’s the BEFORE/AFTER.



Then right beside Bart’s office is my “office” heheh… but let’s return to the main room to go into that room.  This is not the same angle, but it’s the same area BEFORE/AFTER.



Under the stairs I asked for a little kid’s hideaway, instead of a closet, which turned out super cute and the kids love it.




Right across from this kid’s hideaway is my favorite room…my craft room/exercise room/extra guest room/someday-a-kids-bedroom.  This is also where we added a huge window (it has two mini ones also) and a closet, so this translates to a true bedroom according to laws and stuff.



Note the giant window addition…and those poles are now hidden in a wall.





Last but not least…my favorite feature of our basement is our built-in so I wanted to highlight it.  It’s back in the main room.  This was a dream of mine since I saw the odd shaped space in the beginning.  I wanted a special reading place for all of us, plus added guest bedding, and bookshelves for all my books and trinkets.  Someday there will be many more pillows…

before built in


I think that’s all for now.  Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll put a little information down below about our amazing professional crew of friends that made this basement a reality.  We are so so grateful for this new space, what a huge gift!


The Main Man/Contractor/Builder Extraordinaire:  Mike Taratuski Tarry Builders (NJ)   Our Favorite Crazy Electrician: Andrew Yerike  Integrity Electric   The Best Floor Guy Ever: Bill Taylor Taylor Flooring

Paint: all Benjamin Moore (most walls light gray: Bunny Gray) (two rooms yellow: Lancaster Whitewash) (stairwell and built-in dark blue: Newburyport Blue) (bathroom aqua: Palladian Blue)

our basement reno: the middle

I am guessing no one will care about this post, except perhaps people who like to build or think they might want to DIY something like this (which is NOT what we chose to do) but for my own personal memory making, I needed to add this post.

Almost the very first night when Mike (our contractor who is amazing and I will give his number to anyone who needs any work done in NJ) left for the day, I ran downstairs to see the progress.  To anyone else, it would have seemed like not much, but I saw all those studs outlining some of the rooms that I’d drawn on paper many months ago, and I cried.  Literally shed tears over the beauty of 2x4s.  Yes.  It’s true.  It was amazing.  So, bear with me for this middle, because it makes the end result even that much better.

So, first the window was installed, then all the studs happened, then electrical and insulation, plus all the plumbing for the bathroom, then drywall, spackle, trim and doors.  Next I’ll show the painting…because that was one of my favorite parts.  I hated choosing paint colors for the rest of our house, but I felt like since this was our basement, I could afford to go bold or not be totally sure about a decision.  Thankfully I liked everything in the end.

Last came carpeting and my beloved built-in…another fun project to draw and watch Mike create!  We chose carpet so it would feel cozier down there, since it is a basement.  Our bathroom is tile that looks like wood.  If you need a good flooring guy- Taylor Flooring in Point Pleasant Beach is by far the most amazing.  The built in was something that evolved in my head based on much internet/pinterest searching.  It fits a twin bed, so though it might not look big in the photos, its pretty large.

carpet stiarscarpetdown the stairsalmostfinishedmaincarpetupstiarscarpetmaincarpethallcarpetkidscarpetcraftfinishedbathbuiltinfirstbuilt inbuiltin4

Tomorrow I will post the OFFICIAL before/afters as it looks now that we’re all moved in down there.